2018 Women of Influence: Retta Gardner

President and CEO at Guaranty Trust

Retta Gardner

Retta Gardner, president and CEO of Guaranty Trust, is the driving force behind her company’s growth, taking on roles ranging from IT manager and HR manager to wholesale manager and executive vice president before becoming president and CEO in 2013. Gardner joined the company in 1996 and helped it grow from a 30-person blip-on-the-radar to a 160-person mortgage lender with $1 billion in sales.

Gardner is also the president of the Tennessee Mortgage Bankers Association and a board member of Volunteer State Bank, United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties and the Rutherford County Read to Succeed board.

Gardner is the recipient of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business Exemplar award, which recognizes her commitment to community service as well as her dedication to creating a culture of social responsibility in the workplace.

A champion for women in the workplace, Gardner has overseen the growth of the company into a female-powered business. More than 70% of its staff is female, and female executives account for 80% of its senior management team. Gardner supports women’s professional development by ensuring that Guaranty Trust provides scholarship money and paid-time-off for its female executives to obtain CMB designation.

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